On Dec.17, 2004, The scientific article, Methane Burps: Ticking Time Bomb by John Atcheson, was republished on EnergyBulletin.
In John’s article, he predicts a dire future with the thawing and release of methane from the frozen arctic tundra due to global warming. This methane release is, by far, the biggest threat to life on earth as a result of global warming. Surprisingly, it received no reader comments. Here is my comment.
This methane thawing problem is accelerated by the fact that the arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet. An average arctic warming of 3 degrees Centigrade is 4 times greater than the world average warming of 0.7 degrees Centigrade. The explanation for this accelerated arctic warming is Increased Global Climate Mixing.
As storms increase, the atmospheric mixing increases which results in a more even global temperature and a rise in the Arctic temperature. It is just like stirring the soup on the stove, the hot soup near the bottom of the pot mixes with the cooler soup at the top. As a result, the soup temperature evens and gets hotter at the top. The increase in Global Climate Mixing might be as small as 1% or 2% but the result may be the 4 times temperature increase in the arctic.
A combination of global warming and de-forestation are the key factors in the increase in Global Climate Mixing.
Climatologists talk about an increase in storm frequency and intensity. In other words, it is an increase in Global Climate Mixing. Increased wind speed is a measured result much like CO2 concentration is a measured result. The leap from Global Climate Mixing to an increase in arctic temperature by-passes a lot of climate information. It is just like the soup on top of the stove. Everyone knows that stirring the soup will even out the temperature and stop it from burning on the bottom. We know this despite not knowing the swirl patterns inside the soup. I am an air flow expert but not a climatologist, so I will not comment on the link between global warming and increased storm frequency and intensity. I will leave that for the Climatologists.
As a skier, I know how well trees can block the wind on a cold day. Take away the trees and the winds will increase. This is another known fact. Put a resistance (like a tree) in an air flow and the air flow will decrease. Remove the tree and the air flow will increase. Thus, there is an increase of wind speed with de-forestation.
I live in Newfoundland, a region with an extreme, northern, windy climate. It is the island part of Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada’s tenth and most eastern Province. In the winter of 2000, Newfoundland got a record, total snow fall of 8 meters. This year, we will not beat that record because of the abnormally high February rainfall. Many old-timers in Newfoundland say they have never seen such strong winds. Those hurricanes, that hit Florida, often continue up the coast to hit us. Global Climate Mixing is easily seen in Newfoundland. The winds that come down from the arctic are cold and dry. Then the wind will change directions and we will get warmer wet winds from the south. The weather is part of our daily conversation and lives. We call Newfoundland “the rock” because it is a big flat rock with stubby wind swept trees. It offers little resistance to the wind
The solution is to decrease Global Climate Mixing with wind generators
When we decrease Global Climate Mixing, the arctic region should get colder because the warming due to increased mixing will stop. We decrease Global Climate Mixing with wind generators. It is a scientific fact that a wind generator will extract energy from the wind by reducing the wind’s speed. Maybe, full deployment of wind generators (enough to satisfy the world’s energy needs) is also enough to bring the Global Climate Mixing back down to pre-industrial levels.
If reduced Global Climate Mixing is held in check, it should bring the arctic temperatures back down and buy time to allow the CO2 levels and global climate temperature to drop. Decreases in Global Climate Mixing should happen as soon as wind generators are installed because wind does not build up the same capacity as with global warming. In solving the Global Climate Mixing problem with wind generators, we are starting to solve Global Climate Warming because of the switch to CO2–free, electricity generation.
There are many complex issues about using trees as wind resistance. Most of us are for re-forestation and the more re-forestation, the more the wind speed is reduced, however re-forestation takes time, maybe more than we have. Many industries harvest trees and then do tree planting. This is a long term process that essentially harvests carbon and stores the wood or paper. If trees are left standing, they are in greater risk of fire and pests as the planet warms. Trees are reluctant wind restrictors. They stay short so that they can avoid the wind. They only grow tall to compete with other trees for sunlight.
By all means, plant more trees, but wind generators seem to be the best solution to reduce Global Climate Mixing. Wind generators are a great man-made solution to our man-made problem, the increase in Global Climate Mixing. Wind generators are huge wind obstructions, fire resistant, pest resistant, easily located, quick to put up and they will reduce mans’ footprint on earth with their electricity generation.
Measuring the reduced Global Climate Mixing due to wind generators
We could do a “before and after” type measurement to assess reduced wind speeds due to wind generators. Newfoundland would be a good subject. Today, there are only a few test wind generators in Newfoundland. Measure the wind today then install 1,000 large wind generators and measure the reduced wind speeds. 1,000 large wind generators would easily service the population of Newfoundland and would hardly be noticed because it is a large area of land.
I wonder how much the wind generator manufacturers know about the wind speed reductions that their generators cause? If they have very good data, they could probably supply wind speed reduction info directly from the wind generator performance info. Photos from Space would also be an interesting place to observe the effects of a storm hitting a wind generator farm. As viewed from Space, reduced wind speeds can be tied to reduced Global Climate Mixing as it would give a large scale, dynamic view.